The brushes listed below are my go-to brushes that I love so much I have multiples of these. Some have lasted me over 10 years now. I wash mine with Neutrogena’s Body Wash as needed. Probably about once every couple of weeks to once a month. Note I do not have a crease so I don’t typically use brushes specifically for the crease or outer V.
I personally prefer full sized brushes with longer handles because they are easier to hold in the hands while applying and they are easier to store. For short-handled travel brushes, I’ve accumulated a number from different sets but have never found the perfect travel brush set. I usually tend to avoid those brush sets simply because I find the quality to be poor. Laura Mercier seems to be the exception and has the best ones I’ve tried and I love her mini brushes that come with special sets or palettes.
1. Stila #4 Precision Eye Liner Brush $20 – this one has lasted me since my senior year in high school, soft but precise for layering dark shadows over a pencil or gel liner
2. Laura Mercier Smudge Brush $24 – small dense smudge brush with a fine point at the tip, good for getting into those corners or detail areas, extremely versatile for powders & creams, I like that it’s dense but soft and easy on my sensitive eyes, great for smudging liner for a soft blended look
3. Becca Brush #11 – now discontinued, similar in shape to MAC 242 – this is my perfect brush for cream eyeshadow
4. MAC 224 Tapered Blending Brush $29 – soft loose and fluffy, best for a super sheer wash of color and good for blending colors
5. MAC 219 Pencil Brush $24.50 – small pointy and dense, good for a smokey eye and getting to corners for detailing along bottom lashes
6. MAC 217 Blending Brush $22.50 – one of my most favorite brushes ever, super soft and versatile, great for blending and layering, love that it’s big enough to cover a big portion of the eye but small enough to control color where you want it, definitely a must have in every collection
7. MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush $24.50 – another favorite, this is the best brush to pack on color by patting or sweeping, picks up product well and allows control depending on how much product you have on your brush and the pressure you use to apply powders on the lids, if you use it sideways (versus flat) you can use it to get a smudgey line, another great versatile brush, blends colors well
8. MAC 242 Shader Brush $24.50 – I like this for cream shadows that I don’t want all over the lid, the small size allows thicker more pigmented application, I’ve used this for smudging gel liners, it also works for powders too, but I mostly use this for creams
9. Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush $25 – no comparison for gel liners, this is the best one I’ve tried, the tiny tip allows for a precise application even for those with unsteady hands
10. Bobbi Brown Eye Liner Brush $25 – another great option for powder eye liners and precise application with one sweep, I don’t like angled liner brushes because I find the tips too wide and harsh for my eyes, this one from Bobbi Brown is stiff but gentle
11. Trish McEvoy #21 Large Laydown $53 – pricey and a total splurge but well worth the price, love this for both powders and creams
12. MAC 227 Large Fluff Brush $30 – a great all over fluff brush that is densely packed but allows for an even wash of color all over the eyes with one sweep